Gamers have largely gotten a bad rep for being lazy, slothful people who spend their hours mindlessly pressing buttons. The Wii changed that a bit by getting kids (and their parents... and their
parents) up off the couch, but what about giving their brains a workout too? For your family's little mind freak to-be Mattel is introducing the Mindflex
, a brain-powered game that relies on your mental activity to control the height of a ball suspended in a column of air. Don the headset then start concentrating to make the purple orb rise; relax and it lowers. There are six total game types but all entail getting a ball over, under, and through a variety of hoops and the like, sometimes against a clock so that you can challenge your friends. Sadly you have to actually reach up and turn the dial to move the ball around the course, but in our heads on trial we found the thing to be impressively responsive, gently sinking down when we thought about getting some sleep -- then shooting back up again when we pondered the number of posts left to write tonight. It was challenging for sure, and definitely turned a lot of heads, but we're a little concerned that extended sessions could be headache inducing. Its $80 price tag might cause some temple pain too when the thing releases this fall, but we've certainly spent more money on things that were less fun -- and mentally stimulating. Video of floaty balls and squinting players below.